When Must You Be Stubborn Versus Flexible?


“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.” -Unknown

Keep this in mind whenever you find yourself deciding when to be stubborn versus flexible about the things you want out of life.

What is the definition of stubborn?

Merriam-Webster defines stubborn as:

  • Refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something.

  • Difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

As you can see, the term stubborn can be made out to be something negative just from the definition. We all have been stubborn about someone or something we wanted or believed in life. Being stubborn may have cost you negatively, but I will show you later how it can benefit you.


What is the definition of flexible?

Merriam-Webster defines flexible as:

  • Capable of bending or being bent.

  • Easily changed : able to change or to do different things.

  • Willing to change or to try different things.

As you can see, the term flexible shows the ability of change which can be both positive and negative. We all have the ability to be flexible, but we have to pick and choose when to do so.


How can being stubborn and being flexible go wrong together?

Nobody really think that being both stubborn and flexible can go wrong together, but it can. If you are too stubborn about what you know and believe, people will see you as tough (which can be good) and difficult (which can be bad) at the same time. It can be hard at times on you because you are forced constantly to make decisions that either can make you be seen as tough or soft in the eyes of people and yourself. That has an effect on the opportunities that come your way and the chances of you becoming successful.


How can being being stubborn and being flexible work together?

I am going to use one of the definitions each from stubborn and flexible to give you the answer.

  • Refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something. (Stubborn)
    • When it comes to your goals and dreams, stand firm and solid!
      • If you believe or thought you should have something or someone in your life, do not let go of that belief or thought because it gives you purpose and reason to live.
      • Stop messing with things and people who are not helping you with your goals and dreams because they can bring you down and prevent you from staying focused.
  • Willing to change or to try different things. (Flexible)
    • When it comes to how you are going to execute your goals and dreams, do not be afraid to adjust and adapt!
      • When it seems like you are going in the wrong direction or have hit a dead-end, be willing to change direction through guidance and wisdom from people who can help you make the adjustments.
      • If what you are doing is not working, do not let your pride and ego stop you trying different things that can help you get back on track toward achieving your goals and dreams.

When you put it all together, you must be stubborn about what you want and desire out of life, but be flexible about how you are going to get there. If you are flexible about what you want, you will never really have anything solid. If you are rigid about how to get there, you may get stuck in trouble with no other way out.


I encourage you to be stubborn in the things you want and be flexible about how to get there. You deserve what it is that you want, but you got to give yourself different avenues to get there because life is unpredictable. Let’s remember that your stubbornness is your foundation, but it needs your flexibility to build success in your life.


I have two questions to ask you, and I would love for you to give them some thought. Feel free to answer and comment below.

  • How have you allowed your stubbornness and flexibility to work together in your life?
  • When must you be stubborn versus flexible in achieving your goals and dreams?

-Michael J. Fite


I am a husband, father, life coach, motivator, and sailor wrapped into one guy with one mission in mind: To bring you the motivation and inspiration one post at a time!

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